First Poet Laureate Makes Way for Another

Dianne and Peter Hargitai both read original poetry at his final reading as Gulfport’s first poet laureate.

Dianne and Peter Hargitai both read original poetry at his final reading as Gulfport’s first poet laureate.

Gulfport’s Peter Hargitai gave his final reading as the town’s first poet laureate to a packed house at the Gulfport Public Library on October 25. The reading was a retrospective of his work, ranging from a poem he wrote as a 9-year-old about the tragedies of the Hungarian revolution, to more recent works that reflect his time in Gulfport, including two crowd pleasers, “Dancing Into History: A Tribute to the Casino Ballroom” and “Yes, I Am Gulfportian.”

“It’s been a great year of creating and serving as Gulfport’s first poet laureate. I am grateful to Margie Davis and the Gulfport community. I am also glad that poetry as an art form is moving closer to the people,” said Hargitai, citing Bob Dylan’s recent Nobel Prize in Literature.

Hargitai’s wife, Dianne Marlene, an artist, photographer and poet, read poems written since their move to Gulfport and also displayed some of her digitized photographs of familiar Gulfport scenes. They can be viewed here.

“I love nature, particularly birds,” said Dianne. “I take photographs when I’m out walking, and then enhance and layer them digitally, taking them beyond photography.”

Margie Davis, of the Circle of Friends, whose idea to make poetry more accessible in Gulfport resulted in the poet laureate initiative, thanked Hargitai for his contribution. She also announced that the judges are in the process of reviewing submissions to decide who will be the next poet laureate, to be announced in early December.

“Thank you so much for your service,” Davis told Hargitai at the conclusion of the reading. “You have set the bar very high.”

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